Your guide to Ramadan at ANU

21 Mar 2023

Manage your time properly to balance study and stuff that comes with Ramadan. You can also reach out to other students that are fasting for support.

Are you celebrating Ramadan this year? Preparing for a month of fasting? Or maybe you would like to show support for a friend who is? 

Ramadan will begin for Muslims all over the world this week. It is based on the lunar cycle so it begins and ends with the sighting of the crescent moon.  

Ramadan is a sacred month full of blessings, abstinence, community, charity, reflection, family, charity, and prayers. It is obligatory for all Muslims to fast, that means not eating or drinking from dawn to sunset. Some people are exempted due to medical or traveling reasons. The holy month ends with Eid al-Fitr, a big celebration to mark the end of the dawn to sunset fasting. 

Support for Muslim students at ANU 

This may be the first time you are celebrating Ramadan away from home and your usual routine. We spoke to members of the ANU Muslim Student Association about what support exists on campus for those celebrating the holy month and ways that non-Muslims can show support and empathy to those fasting. 

The ANU Muslim Student Associationhelps to create a welcoming, safe and supportive community for Muslims on campus. It currently comprises over 200 ANU Muslim students and staff. They provide services to the ANU Muslim community, organising social events for students on campus, arranging free daily iftars (sunset meal to break the day's fast), educating Muslim students about local halal food shops and ensuring that there are prayer rooms in almost all departments at ANU.  

Zain Ul Abideen is President of the ANU Muslim Student's Association (ANUMSA) and a PhD student. He has worked to ensure there are weekly Friday prayers at ANU sport andadequate prayer spaces across campus. 

"I am happy that there are prayer facilities on campus and spaces to have iftars with other Muslim students. Itmakes life very convenient for me, it means I don't have to go travel off campus to a mosque. I can easily go to a prayer facility and iftars on campus from my office or lab." 

ANUMSA is organising free iftars for each night of Ramadan. This is made possible by donations from students and the wider Muslim community in Canberra.They have ensured that there is different food from countries around the world, so that students can eat familiar food and feel at home at the meals.  

"It builds a sense of community, especially for students on campus.Ramadan is centered around family. You have to break your fast and start your fast with your family. So being able to break our fast at the Muslim Student Association with other students that are Muslims builds a sense of trust and community. It's beautiful." 

Jahan Barkhadle is a third year studying a Bachelor of Science with hopes of attending medical school after she graduates. She has experience balancing studies with the requirements of Ramadan and has some advice for other students.  

"I found that it works best to really structure my day from what I eat to how I study and also the time that I sleep. Take care of yourself, you know, make sure that have propersleep and hydration and eat food that will last you the whole day. Manage your time properly to balance study and stuff that comes with Ramadan. You can also reach out to other students that are fasting for support." 

Zain has similar advice for fellow PhD students.  

"For other students, like PhD students, your work can occur during afterhours and during weekends.Talk to your supervisor about what accommodations can be made for the month. Maybe focus on something flexible like writing or literature review instead of laboratory work. This will allow you to better manage your time with the requirements of Ramadan." 

Showing support as a non-Muslim 

You can support other students and friends by wishing them a Happy Ramadan or with the greeting, Ramadan Mubarak. Work with your Muslim friends to accommodate their Ramadan schedule when organising social events. Choose activities that aren't based on food so your friend doesn't feel left out or awkward. Be conscious that their energy levels may change during this month and be empathetic and supportive. Check the ANUMSA facebook page for events you can attend to show support and learn more about Islam and the ANU Muslim community.Another option is tosponsor or host an iftar, providing a meal for students who are away from their family for the month of Ramadan. Sponsors can either cook or donate money to ANUMSA towards the meal. Last Ramadan the ANUMSA iftars had an attendance of around 50-100 students.  

To learn more visit the ANUMSA website. Membership is free for ANU students.  

Email ANUMSA to join the 100 students who have already signed up forthis month's iftars. 

Ramadan Mubarak! Happy Ramadan!